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Creator of the international business Contiki Holidays


John Anderson was born in Wellington, educated at Scots College and Victoria University where he studied for an accounting degree. At the age of 22 he left New Zealand for the United Kingdom on a one year ‘Overseas Experience’. He returned some 20 years later with his wife Alison, four children and an international business - Contiki Holidays.

After a few months in London, John’s desire to see Europe was overwhelming but he had insufficient funds to achieve this. With just 25 pounds he found a way to not only see Europe, but start his own business. When John eventually sold the company it was and remains one of the world’s major tour operators. Contiki is now firmly established as an international ‘brand’ name - perhaps the only truly international brand name (apart from primary produce products) that has been solely created by a New Zealander. It is a household name in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Canada. It is estimated more than 1.6 million passengers have already travelled with Contiki.

Subsequently, as a member of the Auckland Rotary Club, John conceived the idea of a major fundraising opportunity. This became ‘The Ellerslie Flower Show’ which is now established as a major New Zealand event. John travelled to London and met the ‘Chelsea Flower Show’ organisation, who assisted him with the development of the New Zealand show.

In the January 2012 New Year’s Honours, John was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to tourism.

In John’s presentations he tells the incredible story of how he developed a simple idea into one of the world’s major tour operators. His determination to succeed, the belief in himself, his successes and failures. It is full of extremely funny and sad anecdotes that have a marked effect on the emotions of his audience.



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John was brilliant. Very passionate and I could relate his passion to my own role. The importance of a well known brand is very valuable. He was the best speaker I have ever heard. Canon New Zealand Ltd
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